Gerard Rizza (1959-1992) was my first real boyfriend and to this day one of my favorite people. We met on Greenwich Avenue at the Peacock Cafe. He read to me from his friend Bernadette Mayer’s Midwinter Day, and I cried a little, it was so beautiful, especially the way he read it, and just that he was reading poetry to me at all—I'd just got off the bus from Ohio and he was drop dead gorgeous, tall with long black hair, Italian, sexy and sweet and loyal and loving and funny and fun—Allen Ginsberg had a crush on him too. But Gerard was all mine for a while. Then he died. 33 years old. His first book of poems came out just after he died on April 4, 1992. It was called Regard for Junction, and its publisher? Spectacular Diseases. British. 500 copies. Good luck finding one. If you find one that’s signed, that’d have to have been Gerard’s ghost, or a fraud. The last poem in the book is dedicated to me—he wrote it one cold winter morning in my warm Brooklyn bed where we spent about half the day, happier than we’ll ever be again. We'd just gone through one of many temporary separations--I was very young and very stupid--and he'd come to say he was sorry, though he'd done nothing wrong. "I didn't mean to stay," he said, "just came to apologize / for projecting the whole book of my dead / onto your leaving."

RW